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What happened in December

1st December 2000

One month down! The Sylva posse come up with an answer within about 5 minutes (thanks Gordon and Robin!): its a tapered shaft so if you jack the upright up with the coilovers in place, then there's enough grip to put the nut on. Looks like I need another trolley jack....

Saturday 2nd December 2000

Went to Machine Mart and bought an engine hoist. I'm pretty sure it actually weighs more than the engine! It's a good thing the car doesn't take up too much room as the engine hoist is pretty large even when folded up. After much filing and angle grinding I finally got the calipers to mount properly on the nearside upright. I know that it's sometimes necessary to shim out the calipers on these kits but on this one the bracket left the caliper too far out: the inside of the caliper was scraping on the disc and so it was necessary to remove material from the mounting face on the upright. Needless to say, I was starting to regret getting another Wilwood kit rather than just getting the Bremsport M16 replacement calipers. However, it's all fitted now so hopefully it'll work OK.

Got the front uprights and the steering rack fitted which meant at least some more bits were on the car. Had another play around with the engine mounts and decided that one of the front engine mounting points needed to be shimmed out a little to make it square. Unfortunately, the bolts I'd ordered from Screwfix didn't arrive on Friday so I can't fix the engine mounts on the engine. The engine will have to go in next weekend.

Sunday 3rd December 2000

Completed fixing the fuel tank in place using the nylon bushes. Started T-cutting and refinishing some of the interior panels and started to fit the remaining carbon panels on the transmission tunnel. Went round with the black sealant and filled in the remaining gaps, and used the white sealant to cover up any gaps between the chassis and the panels on the outside. Getting a bit twitchy about not having got the engine in yet, and about how to plumb it in - I can't work out how to run the hoses to and from the expansion tank: the 'bird expansion tank only has one in/out whereas the one I'm using (from Stuart Taylor motorsport) has a 'feed' and a 'bleed'. Might have to ask the se7evers about this one!

Saturday 9th December 2000

Did a bit more on fitting the carbon fibre panels on the top of the transmission tunnel and pressed ahead with the brake lines. I'd bought a pipe flarer (a Draper one) which works OK but only seems to do 'female' flares, not male ones. I'm assuming this will be OK, but I'll test the brakes before driving anyway using the time-honoured 'fill with fluid, stamp on pedal and then wait to see if anything spurts out' technique. I've been pondering how to do the brake lines on the rear axle. This has been complicated by going for disc brakes. The se7eners seem divided as to whether or not I need flexy hoses to the calipers even though they're on a live rear axle. Dave Andrews says I do, and since I'm at least going to try to do it properly, I'll go for that. I've made up three brackets which I've bonded to the rear axle to locate the lines and hoses.

The original plan was to run a solid brake line from the flexy hose into a T-piece, then have solid lines running off that, connected to flexy hoses to the calipers. But there's not much space for the brake line going to the nearest calipers, so I decide to run the hose straight from the T-piece. I think I'll get someone else to make up the flexy hoses for me.

Sunday 10th December 2000

Another big day! Big Al comes along to help again and we set about getting the engine in. I'd already got the engine mounts bolted onto the engine with only a little filing and a few washers.

Tuesday 12th December 2000

Took the day off and went down to Fisher to get some more bits and pieces, such as the roll-bar, the reversing box and mountings and the gear linkage. There was a Blackbird kit being built in the workshop which I'll have a good look at next time I'm down there in January when I pick up the bodyshell. I'd ordered the silencer and manifold but Mark was a bit cagey about the manifold. Having looked at the engine installation, I can see why! There's very little space between the exhaust ports and the top chassis rail. Apparently the Blackbird which they built in the factory had the engine lifted much higher up to get round this problem. I suspect that the engine will not be staying where it is....

Mark also showed me how the connect the master cylinder to the reservoirs. Apparently they use three lengths of tube, stuck inside each other and glued together, then rammed into the master cylinder. Doesn't look particularly professional, but I suppose if it's sprayed black then it should be OK. Mark gave me a reservoir and the tubing (after I mentioned the problems I'd had with the master cylinder/engine mounts and the incorrect brake pipe connector). It turns out that they'd mounted the engine using modified mounts in order to clear the master cylinder. Erm, could have mentioned that perhaps? Anyway, I think our way is better so that's OK.

Provisionally fitted the reversing box when I got back. It seems that it'll have to go underneath the scuttle with the lever underneath the dash. There go my plans of having a centre console! I might make up a remote lever installation later, but first things first. The reversing box lever unfortunately hits the panel on the side of the transmission tunnel on the passenger side, so I'll have to cut a bit of the panel out and put a little 'lump' over it. I've got a plastic box which'll do nicely!

Not quite sure how to attach the front gear linkage piece (it's the long gold piece in the pictures). It's got an angle at the bottom but the angle, instead of matching the angle on the bottom of the chassis, has a flat bit on top and then a vertical bit going down from that. I assume that the flat bit goes underneath the chassis, but I can't see what the vertical bit does then as it just points downwards underneath the car. It seems to be a rather pointless way of reducing ground clearance. One to check, I think.

Friday 15th December 2000

Ring Mark with the measurements for the propshaft having checked that the reversing box is in the right place. It turns out that the gear linkage can go anyway I want it to and that I just have to grind/cut off the bits I don't want! We really are getting into 'make it up as you go along' territory here.

I mentioned the fact that I'm intrigued as to how the exhaust manifold will fit. Mark just said 'yes, it's a bit tight' but didn't break down and beg for forgiveness for the fact that it'll never fit, so hope shall continue to spring eternal for a while. I still can't see how it'll fit though!

Saturday 16th December 2000

No work on car: I was up in Manchester at a friend's wedding. Congratulations Aidan and Chris!

Sunday 17th December 2000

Continue provisionally fitting the reversing box (which I remembered to fill with oil). Yet again, it was necessary to file the holes drilled in the mounting plates, which were a fair way off. The box seems much stiffer now, but I assume that this is due to the fact that it's got very cold oil in it. It's very easy to put into reverse but a bit tricky to get back into forward motion mode. I'm thinking that I may have to put a detent on it to stop inadvertantly knocking it into neutral/reverse although the fact it's underneath the dash should help.

Have another look at the exhaust manifold. Nope, still can't see how it'll fit! It also looks like there isn't enough space for the oil filter, since this will foul the bottom chassis rail. Starting to seriously doubt whether the engine is in the right place, ultimately.

I finish off my painting the rear axle brake mounts and the bits I'd ground off to give the dampers a bit more clearance, and the uprights where I'd ground bits off to allow the calipers to fit. I've got to think about getting some heating: it's bloody cold in the garage! In the end I leave it and go to work to update the website and put the pictures on.

Monday 18th December 2000

Got an e-mail from another Fury Blackbird builder. He mentions having problems getting an exhaust manifold. Sounds a bit ominous and will have to check that one!

Front suspension and brakes


So touching!

From another angle.

Engine in

Roll bar in place

Reversing box

Gear mechanism

All together now...

Reversing box in place

This document maintained by Dan Bromilow
Material Copyright © 1998 Dan Bromilow